Journeys Home Survey

Journeys Home: A Longitudinal Study of Factors Affecting Housing Stability was a national survey of Australians who were either homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless.

Launched in September 2011, the Survey collected information on the complexities of homelessness by tracking the same people over a two-and-a-half-year period.

The findings from Journeys Home have assisted researchers, government agencies and community organisations in the development of strategies that aim to improve the circumstances of people facing living and housing challenges.

Fast facts

  • Journeys Home was the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal survey of homelessness in Australia.
  • It tracked the movements of almost 1700 Australians who were either homeless or identified as housing insecure.
  • The Survey aimed to identify the factors leading to homelessness and the support strategies required to exit from it.
  • Journeys Home has helped to reveal how men and women, and the young and old, experience homelessness and housing instability.

Who was involved in Journeys Home?

Journeys Home was funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Social Services.

The Melbourne Institute was responsible for the design and content of the survey, and appointed Roy Morgan Research to undertake the fieldwork for Waves 1 to 6.

Fieldwork for all six waves of the Journeys Home Survey was completed in 2014. The Melbourne Institute thanks participants for their involvement in this important survey.

Research methods

Journeys Home was an important national survey about the living and housing challenges that people may be facing.

Commencing in September 2011, almost 1700 Australians who were either homeless or identified by Centrelink as at high risk of becoming homeless were surveyed over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Detailed respondent information was collected through face-to-face interviews, with some interviews conducted by telephone. Roy Morgan Research conducted the fieldwork on behalf of the Melbourne Institute.

The fieldwork survey for Wave 1 was conducted between September and November 2011, with five follow-up surveys conducted at six-monthly intervals. The final survey – for Wave 6 – was completed in May 2014.

The Study collected information on living and housing challenges in a range of areas, including:

  • Personal circumstances – participants’ physical and mental health; their participation in the workplace, employment, education and training; and, any significant life events
  • Family circumstances – participants’ family status and living arrangements; support networks; and, experiences of domestic and family violence
  • Housing circumstances – participants’ housing situation; the periods, nature of, and reasons for homelessness; and
  • Use of support services – types of assistance sought and used, including healthcare and support services.

During each survey, respondents were asked detailed questions about where they had been living during the previous year. For example:

  • Have you been living in a caravan? What date did you move in?
  • Were you sleeping on the street? When? And for how long?

The resulting accommodation calendar offered clear insight into the patterns that led people to move into and out of certain housing.

Plus, when combined with other information such as welfare receipt, the overall data revealed the most detailed information about the factors driving people into certain living situations.

Reports and publications

Information on the survey, sampling, research reports and findings of the Journeys Home project is available in the Publications section.

For researchers

The Journeys Home Survey is a unique data source that charts the living and housing challenges faced by the same group of Australians over a two-and-a-half-year period.

The longitudinal data enables researchers, support services and policy makers to better understand the risk and protective factors associated with homelessness and housing instability.

To find out more about using Journeys Home data in your research, visit our Journeys Home research section.

Our team

Meet the Journeys Home Survey team.

Labour Economics and Social Policy research program

Members of the Melbourne Institute’s Labour Economics and Social Policy research program investigate a broad range of topics related to income distribution and the labour market.

Research focuses on the effectiveness of employment, welfare, and tax and transfer policies, and contributes to the development of policies that will improve the circumstances of disadvantaged and vulnerable people.